Monday, December 31, 2012

Best of 2012, because everyone else is doing it.

Between participating in a secret writing club (for realsies) earlier this year and the Flash Fiction Friday efforts of the last three months, I had quite a lot of options to sort through, and asking loved ones for nominations was no help at all, because not a single one of them chose alike the others. Thanks for that, friends.

My Favorite Poem of 2012, though most of my poetry this year followed a similar theme and it was quite hard to choose. I suppose 2012 could be called "the year of encouraging myself," because I seemed to need to do it, and then actually do it, a lot.

I chose two favorite guest fiction pieces from a whole slew of flash fiction participant entries.
Kindra's story is from the week we all wrote from the "Creature Catalogue" prompt, and Keri's is from "Basketball Socks."

My own Flash Fiction:
The one that made me cry while writing it.

Favorite Allegory.

The only one that turned out just like I pictured when I sat down to write (they usually surprise me, which I love, so this one is included for its unique result).

Bonus: My favorite non-fiction this year. It's a bit longer than most, and autobiographical, and therefore quite personal, so open with care.

Happy New Year to all! I hope you'll join us when our writing challenges return in late January.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Halibut & Mint

For nearly three months I created a little fictional for-fun piece every Friday and it seems to have done it's job--it's Thursday now (but will be Friday when I hit "publish"), and though I've been bogged down with tiny people's vomits all week, I'm already itching to write something. I've no structure in place for something this week, so this little on the fly number will have to do.

Her suitcase was not romantic, but practical, and much lighter when compared with the vintage trunk she'd imagined herself lugging across the globe. "Nothing works out exactly like you'd pictured," she allowed. There wasn't much that could argue with that sentiment. Still, she'd collected stickers from most ports, hoping to find some kind of not-too-cheesy way to display them all at the end of the succession of journeys. They were still waiting in the brown paper bag in the bottom drawer.

The case and the ordered chaos of the contents about to be loaded into it splayed across the entire bed; she had to finish before she could sleep. Time for some tough decisions. Five pairs of socks and underwear. Two sweaters, eight favorite shirts. Jeans x2. Boots, runners... the flats she'd wear. Journal, computer, cash, phone, and passport, in carry-on. Toothbrush and deodorant and favorite solid perfume fell into their place in her bag--the rest she'd buy after landing.

She reached for the bottle and considered it carefully. It was wrapped and ready, still earmarked to be the beverage she would enjoy when she celebrated the completion of this mad journey. She felt the weight of it in her hands carefully, almost as though she were weighing something unseen within herself with each gently heft of the package. "Not this time. We're not done yet." She placed the bottle back in its box and zipped her bag shut, ready for whatever tomorrow would show her.

Looking forward to having our community of participants back in action in late January for more Flash Friday pieces. Do let me know if you want to join, and I'll add you to our list.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday--Secret Santa

Seasons greetings! Flash Fiction Friday is on Winter Break! Our break for Holiday festivities with loved ones will be much appreciated, and we'll be back to the writing action in January. When we reconvene, it will be with a slightly new format, so watch for the news on that. Before we sign off, enjoy this last offering of 2012. 

 Many Happy Returns  

"Somebody call 911!" Brad coughed out his orders, choking on the thick dust still cascading down from the ceiling like a fresh snow. "Are we under attack? What in the heck is happening?!"

"I don't know!" Molly, the clerk, still clutching the receipt from her last transaction, wiped muddied, stinging tears from her eyes, trying to see where his voice was coming from. "I was just about to put this in their bag, and-"

"Holy hell, guys." Sam was back from his break, making his usual, unaffected commentary from somewhere outside the perimeter of their ground zero. "Did you know the ceiling's kinda, um, open, Brad?"

"Sam! Lock down the front door until we can get to the bottom of this. Don't let anyone loot us!" Brad's loyalty to his duty as store manager was, as ever, in tact--swimming in debris though he may have been, he still had his priorities straight. "And call the police when you - what the heck is this?" He suddenly spat a large chunk of sparkling, tinselly confetti out of his mouth. A deflated, dirt-caked yellow balloon made its way down and landed on his shoulder. "Oh. Oh, it can't be..." Memories of Brad's early training manuals suddenly surfaced, and a long-forgotten footnote now announced itself to his consciousness.

"Molly! Molly give me that receipt! Who was that?"

"I don't know! It was a woman and her kid."

"Go, find them! Find the woman that was here!"

"She ran out as soon as that stuff started falling on her!"

"Sam, you locked the doors, right? Bring the customers to me one by one."

Only three customers remained, most having left their carts full of goods behind in favor of avoiding the attempt at being unlawfully detained by the zealous shop manager. Brad went by each one, inspecting their bags, trying to find the match for the all-important receipt in his hand. Molly apologized for the confusion to each one as they were dismissed. As she began to sweep the glittery dust storm, Brad interrupted her efforts.

"We've got to find the woman who matches this receipt!"

"Is she Cinderella?" Sam's usual humor was wasted on Brad's seriousness and Molly's mood.

"She's the millionth customer!" Brad's reddened eyes grew larger, his already hoarse voice rasped loudly. "Jim and Elba, rest their souls, when they built this place, they had an idea for a prize to celebrate getting their millionth customer. I didn't know they actually did anything about it! The, the trap-door in the ceiling, oh my God, I had no idea. But we have to find her! We've got to give her her prize!"

"Okay, um, call the news?"

"Sam, you're a genius. Whomever can bring me the exact contents of this receipt, and match the identity Molly remembers, can claim it! You just earned yourself a raise, young man." Molly scowled, still sweeping thanklessly.

She came forward a week later. Her picture plaque still hangs on the wall by the cash register. "Jemma Blackner, 1,000,000th customer." She spent her $10 gift card on another bottle of shampoo, the last one having been spent on the efforts to get the dust out of her hair.

Want to make one of your own? Come back in January for more prompts. 

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Les Miserables Medley. Like A Boss.

In honor of the upcoming movie release (so excited! tomorrow!!), here is a jerk. I'm serious; God dipped the cup into the talent barrel a few too many times when he made this one. Let's all agree to hate him (after the shock from what you're about to see wears off) for his range, shall we?

Also, his O Holy Night is not too shabby, and y'know, seasonal and all. Spotify.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Things I have woken up in the middle of the night to write down, thinking they were GENIUS, only to be baffled by them in the morning...

In my dreamworld, these were all killer ideas.

  • "I made a deal with Rumplestltskin. It's not that I don't know how to spell that word; it's that I CAN NEVER know how to spell it!"
  • "Set phasers to STUNNA!" *as sunglasses are being flipped down onto face*
  • Pacifiers and socks conspire against us for mutual lostness. Maybe they are in a decades-long game of hide-and-seek to the death with each other, and we are just the by-standing casualties of their war.
  • "Who has the ride away?"
    "The what?"
    "The ride away! When you know it's your turn, and you can ride away."
    "You can't be serious."
  • The great (and lost) debates between the famous thinkers with their lesser-known colleague, the Greek philosopher Diabetes. Spoiler alert--most of his points are about donuts.
  • You know that moment when you're crafting a project or building a little household something, and you realize all in an instant exactly what you've done wrong to lead you to this point of no return? Do you think the guys who carved the Easter Island Heads had a moment like that, as they watched their full-bodied statues sink into the fertile earth beneath the far too-weighty faces?   "Aw, Jerry, I knew we should have brought the glue gun."

Actually, I may use some of these yet. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut

My kindergartener is safe in her bed now; I am shedding more tears and praying for the mamas who have to face tomorrow without theirs.

At the beginning of a long road and a steep climb,
Where the sun is rising behind a tall mountain,
You, the runners of a marathon you've not trained for, but must now finish, stand.
We are on the sidelines, with deafening cheers,
Lining up for as long as this journey goes, 
To bear witness as you reach for the glowing warmth coming up behind that hill. 

We cannot run for you.

if you'll let us,
We will pass you metaphorical protein bars and 
Tiny cups filled with electrolyte water and
Watch as you place one foot, then the other, then the other.
We will brace your backs and bind up your smaller scrapes
While you go as though your life depended on it
Because there's no other truth to examine now,
No maxim or sympathetic adage to bestow,
No promise of loss restored,
No comfort we can create, 
Except this:

Our prayers are the now-hoarse voices,
Calling out to propel your next step forward in the darkest and hardest climb
Of your life. This Nation's bent knees and heavy hearts are the cheering crowd,
Saying - No. You will not be alone. 
In this great loss, you will never be alone.
The depth of your anguish we can never know, 
Still, we promise to carry your babies with us, and
To pass you another tiny cup filled with electrolyte water
As you go to the rising light. 

I cannot run for you. 
I stand watch as you go. 

Flash Fiction Friday--Migration Patterns

Not Cutting It 
 - A Monologue -

It's my first time so I'll try not to squirm. Look, I'm terribly sorry for whatever comes out of me. I used to be able to handle this kind of thing by myself, and honestly, don't know what will happen. Calling in the reinforcements! Hahahahaha. Ahm. That's you, by the way. Do you have a bucket in case I get nauseous? You know, 'blouuughghghgh'? No? Okay, I'll do my best.

Okay, so my main problem is at the top. It's true that I'm plucking twice as frequently as I used to, and like I said, whatever. I was dealing with it, you know? But now it's changing it's shape. It's taking on a whole new form, and I'm just not equipped to deal with that. I certainly don't want to make it worse! Nice shape, okay? No high arches!

Do you have any release I need to sign before we begin? You know like if there's some kind of reaction. You won't burn me, right? IT'S NOT GOING TO BURN?

Sure, sorry. I'm ready. Will you count to three? I know they're getting wider, I get it; we get hairier as we age. Just make sure I don't leave here with them higher than where they started. I don't want them flying north for the summer, you know? Placement is very important.

Yes, sorry. I am, really. Okay. You can start.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"Secret Santa."

Read Gabriel's submission.
Read Linda's submission.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Racist Coffee

I don't know about you, but I seem to need more caffeine-enhanced beverages to survive this month. To that end, I bring you this friendly PSA, as introduced to me by my brother.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday--Figureheads of State

   I refuse to Lie, Okay?    

The Macy's parade marched slowly on, and on, as it does each year. The little girl sat at the window staring in awe, cognizant of the hullabaloo for maybe the first time in her young life.

At first, her family all gathered close by, enthralled more with her delighted squeals than the activity itself. One by one the bright attractions marched by, and at each new sight she demanded more information. "Who's that, Mama!?"
"That's Spider Man, sweetie," the woman answered before heading back into the kitchen to address the potatoes.
"Dad, what are those guys doing?"
"That's a marching band, gumdrop. Your old dad used to be in one of those. It's a real honor to be skilled enough to be invited to-"
"Whoa! Whasat!?!"
"That's a giant balloon in the shape of a football. Oh, speaking of which..." he headed out to the den to tune into the game.

Her questions and joyous squeals continued and uncles, aunts, and other guests busied themselves with other matters until finally, no one was left to query but Grandpa in his recliner. She asked his several questions, but he only grunted, or snored, once groggily asking her to refill his drink, so she finally resigned to watching the spectacle in silence. No matter though, because she didn't need anyone to tell her who the last participant in the grand parade was as he turned the corner onto their block.

"SANTA!!" she squealed.
"Nothin' but a lousy figurehead," Grandpa mumbled.
"A fig of what?"
He sat up a bit in his chair. "Fig yer head. He's got no power! Listen Lucy, don't bulieve in Santa, okay? Don't even bulieve in him, okay? He's got nothing to do with it."
Lucy came away from the window and scooted in close to his seat. "I can send letter to Santa, Grandpa!"
"Yeah, and you know who reads em? Their Congressional Department of Elves, that's who! They don't even make the toys - oh they'd like you to keep thinking that - but the laborers union knows it's the sweat and tears and the strong backs of the penguins that gets the job done! And whadda the penguins get for running the show? Okay? They get labeled black collar and fish wages. Okay? A total crock."
"I asked for a mermaid doll!"
"Lemme, let... lemme tellya something about this, okay? Your letter has to go through eighteen tiers before anybody relevant even hears your wish. The Elfery Department of Baking, the Elfery Bureau of Cheer, the Public Relations elves, the productions councils. These people are just fuzzy suits passing paper around. The system is broken, Lucy, okay?"

Grandpa turned over and went back to snoring in his chair and Lucy went back to the window, giggling and waving as she watched the sleigh pull away from her sight.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"migration patterns."

Read Esther's submission.
Read Aaron's submission.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Husband is Sick.

"I'm about to give you an idea about how I feel."
"I wish I had sweatpants."
"You have pajama pants."
"You can't go to the store in pajama pants."
"You can't go to the store in sweat pants!!"

His judgement is clouded.

more reading